Love heading to the neighborhood Chinese restaurant for dinner? Chopsticks are of symbolic and cultural importance to several Asian countries. They are an essential part of their lifestyle, and while you may still use a fork to gobble up the delicious Chinese dishes, most Asians do not.
With so many types of chopsticks available, it is easy to get confused which one to use. It is all about comfort and the type of foods you eat. In this article, we have detailed information about the different materials of chopsticks, which will help you to make the right choice.
Different materials used to make chopsticks
You get different types of chopsticks made using a variety of materials. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Wood chopsticks are the best kind because wood is a low conductor of heat, so it doesn’t transfer the food’s temperature to your hands. They are a great choice for stirring food and eating rice. Wood chopsticks come in two types – reusable, which is covered with lacquer and disposable. Chinese people use lacquered wood chopsticks at home, while restaurants offer disposable ones. Disposable chopsticks are also called break apart chopsticks and the cheapest kind. Whenever you buy chopsticks, make sure they are available in their original color because you can never be sure what kind of dye was used to color them.
Plastic chopsticks are a recent innovation and made with food-grade plastic. You will find plastic chopsticks in street-side and casual restaurants. However, they don’t have a good grip because of the material’s slippery characteristics. You cannot eat or pick up hot food with plastic chopsticks because it can melt and release harmful substances in the food. They are available in a variety of colors and designs.
One of the most affordable varieties, bamboo chopsticks are free from pesticides and toxins and are eco-friendly. Bamboo is also dense, versatile, and strong. All these characteristics make them perfect alternative to wood, which is known to put a stress on the environment. Bamboo chopsticks aren’t usually lacquered because they disintegrate and get warped easily. You will usually find these chopsticks with your takeaway or in Asian restaurants.
Reusable chopsticks are usually made for home use. They are made using a variety of materials from stainless steel to platinum. The cost varies according to the material used. These varieties are developing keeping in mind their environmental sustainability. You will also find reusable wooden and bamboo chopsticks that are lacquered but they can’t be used forever like steel, aluminum, or porcelain chopsticks.
In past years, silver chopsticks are usually used by the wealthy. They are mostly used as a measure of precaution as silver turns black in presence of poison. Silver chopsticks were used by kings of the past for the very same reason. They are also used to show off their wealth.
How to Make the Right Choice?
1. Materials you should avoid
You are best to avoid colored chopsticks because they can be painted with toxic colors, which contain benzene and lead. Always buy colorless chopsticks because you never know the type of color they would have used to paint the chopsticks. Furthermore, disposable chopsticks and plastic ones aren’t environmentally sustainable, these materials also should to avoid.
2. Can you use bamboo chopsticks?
Yes, bamboo chopsticks are a more eco-friendly options but it is best you avoid using disposable variations. The goal is to not use disposable chopsticks at all. Its manufacturing process uses a lot of fresh water, which can be directed towards villages that need it. Reusable chopsticks are more expensive compared to disposable ones but they can be used over a long period of time. They are easy to take care of, so you don’t have to worry about them getting infected by bacteria or mold.
3. When to use reusable and disposable chopsticks?
Many people struggle with making the choice between reusable and disposable chopsticks. While disposable chopsticks are more hygienic since they are sterilized but not eco-friendly, reusable chopsticks can be used for a long time.
Eat out at a restaurant or at someone’s place: It is best to choose a good restaurant or a place with sanitary facilities. Usually, there are reusable chopsticks without hygienic problem and qualified disposable chopsticks. If you worry about the sterilized condition, there is no choice to use disposable chopsticks.
When you are eating at your house, always use reusable chopsticks and take the burden off nature. You are in a more controlled environment at home, so the chances of the chopsticks getting infected by bacteria are less.
4. Making a sustainable choice
Wood and bamboo chopsticks are easy to use but can’t be used for very long since the material can get warped or the paint can come off. Once you have mastered the art, you can switch to a more sustainable material like stainless steel. The materials are very low-maintenance and don’t pick up odors. Using chopsticks is a lovely experience, but you need to know what chopsticks you should use. Go for reusable chopsticks and enjoy the art of eating Chinese food with them. Make the correct choice and help make the world a better place.